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The Genius, the Fraud, and the Flirt: A Discussion on Robert Winthrop Chanler

The Evening Lecture Series is free and open to the public. With inquiries, please contact Kara Carmack at kcarmack@nyss.org.

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Robert Winthrop Chanler, ca. 1900.














Lauren Drapala is a design historian and architectural conservator who first encountered Robert Winthrop Chanler’s work in 2008, conducting a materials analysis of Chanler’s interior for the Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney Sculpture Studio (now part of New York Studio School). She is currently pursuing her PhD in design history, history of decorative arts and material culture at Bard Graduate Center, and teaches in Pratt Institute’s History of Art and Design department. Her dissertation research focuses on Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney and her female contemporaries’ patronage of immersive decorative interiors in the early twentieth century.

Thomas Venturella holds a BFA in painting from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the University of Chicago. While working at a prominent stained-glass studio in Manhattan, Venturella met the Belgian artist Benoît Gilsoul and fabricated many of his stained-glass windows. In 1985, he established Venturella Studio, where he remains owner, operator, and Senior Conservator. Venturella and his colleague Jim Murphy were involved in the restoration of Robert Winthrop Chanler’s stained glass windows originally installed in Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney’s studio. He is a member of the American Institute for Conservation.

Gina J. Wouters is President and CEO of Planting Fields Foundation, which is an organization that works in a public-private partnership with New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation, to steward Planting Fields, a 409-acre Olmsted Brothers-designed historic estate. She has spent most of her professional career working for not-for-profits to preserve and revitalize historic sites, with an emphasis on estates from the Gilded Age and Country Place Era. Prior to joining Planting Fields, Gina was Curator of Vizcaya Museum and Gardens in Miami, Florida, a National Historic Landmark, then Vice President of Museum Affairs and Chief Curator at Cheekwood Estate and Gardens in Nashville, Tennessee. Her degrees include a B.F.A. in Photography and Art History from Barry University and an M.A. in Dutch Art in a European Context from the Universiteit van Amsterdam in her native country, the Netherlands. Gina is completing her Ph.D. at the University of Leicester, UK, situating the global phenomenon of contemporary artists as catalysts for organizational change at historic sites. She has curated numerous exhibitions as well as site-specific commissions from artists such as Mark Dion, David Brooks, Diana Al-Hadid, and others, and has published extensively on related subjects. Gina has lectured nationally and internationally including at ICOM, AAM, NPS, and CAA conferences and is an alumna of the 2015 Attingham Summer School.

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